Unverified Voracity Says Get Well Comment Count

Brian December 1st, 2008 at 3:56 PM

When I was a kid I hated Dr. Z because in the NFL preview issue he would invariably predict grim demise for the Wayne Fontes-era Detroit Lions, and half the time he would be wrong and the Lions would squeeze into the playoffs with a spectacular late-season, Fontes-saving charge and I would think to myself "what does that old coot know anyway?"

As I got older, though, I slowly came to realize that Dr. Z, more than anyone else I read, actually talked sense. In the early days of my experience with broadband—dorm rooms were about the only places in the world with it in 1997—I found myself a voracious football content sink and absorbed every word Zimmerman wrote and SI.com deigned to put on the internet. 

The ones that evidently stuck the references to copious charts and minute observations of the game and how the popular conception of a player was just flat wrong and if you really want to know who's having a knockout year, well, here's this safety playing for the Arizona Cardinals of all teams that no one's talking about. In this, I think, was the genesis of Upon Further Review.

Dr. Z said that to understand the game you must watch it in preposterous detail and put the media's black and white storylines from your mind. His influence is unmistakable here.

I bring it up because Paul Zimmerman is in the hospital after two strokes, his health uncertain, his speech disjointed. I hope he makes it back.

Sparty, no! I am constitutionally obligated to mention this:

Plaxico Burress' controversial year has just taken a turn for the worse.

The New York Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the right thigh Friday night, FOXSports.com has learned, not long after being ruled out of Sunday's game against the Redskins with a hamstring injury in the same leg.

Ha. Hahahahaha. Ha. Ha.


That is all.

Coins in the couch. So I wrote the following up a couple weeks ago, then stuck it in the "drafts" section of Windows Live Writer and forgot about it. Better late than never:

Hockey recruitin'. Signing day came and went for the basketball team and Michigan pulled in a pretty decent class that you probably know enough about because of the tireless efforts of UMHoops. Also signing were a number of gentlemen on skates, some of whom are significantly more hyped than I thought. The official site has the details; upshot:

  • AJ Treais is one of those dynamite midget guys who can stickhandle through a swarm of locusts. His draft ranking makes me think he's more Shouneya than Cammo/Comrie. Red says screw that conservative noise:  "I think each player will add something to our team. I think A.J. Treais looks a little bit like T.J. Hensick. He can be a prolific small centerman."

    Dang, man, Hensick is a hell of a comparison.

  • Chris Brown is a power winger with first-round potential. This is less exciting than it sounds because the NHL is always grabbing lumbering power wingers in the first round and often they're doing it based on projection, not current ability, or just because they're big or something. See: Eric Nystrom, who was the only Michigan player in history I thought was taken at least a round too high. (Not that Nystrom wasn't good, but you knew his max upside was a third liner. You don't spend the #10 pick in the draft on a guy who will be a grinder if he works out.)
  • Kevin Lynch is the middle kid, not as big as Brown or as tiny and skilled as Treais; he's supposed to be a mid-round pick.

USHL defenseman Lee Moffie is also in the class, but he didn't sign for whatever reason. Last year Michigan couldn't sign Brandon Burlon to a letter of intent because they didn't have the money available; this might be a similar situation.

Michigan doesn't lose much from the current team: the only seniors are Sauer, Miller, Turnbull, Naurato, and Fardig. (Mitera is also a senior, obviously, but he's seen a period of icetime so far this year.)

There is also this article on 2010 goalie commit Jack Campbell featuring a quote from Yost Built's Tim Williams. Obligatory note: the 2010 class is sick. Right now Michigan has three guys being touted as potential top-ten NHL draft picks. That's like bringing in Al Montoya, Jack Johnson, and… uh… Eric Nystrom in the same class. Except this version of Eric Nystrom is supposed to be ridiculous. God, I hope they all get to campus. Also, the huge freshman class from '08 will be seniors then; if Michigan can hold on to Caporusso and Hagelin and Rust that long the 2010 team should be dynamite.

Which is nice… because man, this year's team is really disappointing. It's not even the defense, which you'd think would be a sore spot in the absence of Mark Mitera and Steve Kampfer. The team just does not score goals. I only caught the third period of the Minnesota game and can't offer any explanations; I thought they had played well the last time I saw them. They utterly dominated Western Michigan but got beat 2-1 because they just couldn't finish. Now they're sitting at 9-7 and really need to sweep a badly struggling Michigan State team to hit the break in any sort of shape to make the tournament.

So how much is it? Buzz has reached my inbox to the effect that Charlie Weis is done and Brian Kelly is in at Notre Dame, which 1) I don't think is anywhere near true yet and 2) I seriously hope is nowhere near true.

Brian Kelly built Grand Valley into a DII power, immediately turned around CMU after he arrived, and immediately turned around Cincinnati after he arrived. Putting him at the head of the admittedly ferocious talent that Charlie Weis has inexplicably gathered is the worst-case scenario for the near future of the Notre Dame coaching job. (Aside from the highly likely possibility that Urban Meyer will leave Florida, where he is God and paid like it, for South Bend. Yeah, sure)

This is contingent on Weis getting axed, but the preponderance of the evidence suggests the buyout really is incredibly steep. Here's a summary of what we've been told in the media:

At least $12 million is the fourth buyout figure reported by media outlets in the past week. The Chicago Tribune reported Weis' buyout at around $4.5 million. IrishIllustrated.com is reporting the buyout at at least $10 million and ESPN is reporting the number at $16 million.

Some private scuttlebutt I came across had that number even higher than 16 million, and that's what WNDU just reported:

As we first told you on NewsCenter 16 at 6 on Sunday, a source very close to the situation tells WNDU that the price to buy Weis out of the remaining seven years of his contract is around $20 million.

The source also says that Notre Dame does not appear to have the money right now and could be using the next week to try and raise more funds from alums.

That is equivalent to "there is no buyout." If true—and I still struggle to believe anyone could be this unbelievably stupid, even the people who hired Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, and Charlie Weis in succession—Notre Dame offered Charlie Weis a ten year guaranteed contract for losing to USC in his first year as head coach. Which would preclude his firing this year.

And I'm not sure if I want that, either. I prefer chaos in my rivals, and it would be especially helpful this year given that Michigan could pick off a few recruits that would aid Rich Rodriguez's rebuilding program.

Eh. We'll see, I guess.



December 1st, 2008 at 4:14 PM ^

yes, it would be annoying because of the two or three years of insane incredibleness that he could do with the talent brought in by Weis, but the solace that can come from a Brian Kelly hire is the fact that everyone else seems afraid to touch the guy. Michigan didn't even consider him, and Tennessee would rather have someone who's never been a college head coach in his life. IMO, there are two things that are scary about Brian Kelly. One, he is a walking, talking flood of recruiting violations just waiting to happen. There were always rumors about some of his evil techniques used at GVSU, and oh yeah, he had some players at Central Michigan who were murderers.

The other thing is that he supposedly wants to eventually get to the NFL. If he was successful at ND for two years and then was raptured up to the pro's, well, I'll take it.


December 1st, 2008 at 7:35 PM ^

That is the rumor. Like most things with Kelly, its just a rumor and no one can really find solid evidence of its truth (just like the skeletons, horrible person, recruiting violations, etc.). There's so much chatter that I sort of believe a lot of it though.

Urban may be a longshot, but its not out of the question. In fact, its more likely now than it was in '04. ND's AD will be going after Urban hard, just as he should.


December 2nd, 2008 at 12:00 AM ^

i have thought the nfl would be his end goal, so that's why i'm not concerned about him being a thorn in our side for 15 years. i'm just afraid he'll go for two years, make ND good, leave for the NFL, and then notre dame will be good again. i mean it's pretty obvious that once he builds up a program it sticks pretty well. gvsu and CMU are both still pretty good


December 1st, 2008 at 4:14 PM ^

I don't want Brian Kelly anywhere near Michigan's schedule on a yearly basis. That guy is a monster.

That track record is every bit as impressive, winning multiple titles anywhere is a big accomplishment.

I'm glad MSU didn't hire him, I'm hoping ND makes the same mistake.


December 1st, 2008 at 4:36 PM ^

doesn't begin to describe brian kelly. MSU didn't hire him because they weren't that desperate and dantonio is a very good coach. now is ND that desperate? i'm not sure, we'll see soon enough


December 1st, 2008 at 8:29 PM ^

At this point I don't see anything more than a whisper campaign. Sure, he could be paying players to come to Cincinnati with the proceeds of his kitten snuff films. Or he could be about as much a jackass as most other college coaches are, but one who pissed off the wrong person(s) at some point in his career. Evidence one way or the other would be nice.


December 1st, 2008 at 6:02 PM ^

While I agree that Kelly to ND would be trouble for a few years based on the amount of "talent" (which is often based on subjective measurements coupled with pure athleticism) he would inherit from Weis, I have always been concerned about how a coach handles the increased pressure and recruiting competition that accompanies a shift from a mid-major/low-pressure BCS team to one of the big boys. I mean, for every Urban Meyer there is a Ty Willingham, and with Kelly there is always a sense that he has a massive trail of recruiting violations that nobody has bothered to unearth because of where he coached. If he went to ND, I suspect that the increased scrutiny, plus the accompanying jump in pressure and academic standards, may make him less of a great fit than people first envision. Plus, I have yet to see any proof that ND actually has the immense wealth of talent everybody keeps talking about - just because other big-name schools go after ND players does not mean that they are supremely talented; only that big-name programs tend to focus on the same high-profile kids (and that may be due in part to the lemming effect - ND goes after someone, so USC and Fla figure he must be good and start bidding as well). And yes, I'm not-so-secretly hoping that ND wusses out and doesn't take a shot on him because he scares me more than any other coach out there.


December 1st, 2008 at 4:32 PM ^

I know people who had to deal with Kelly on a regular basis while he was at GVSU. Hell of a coach, sure, but it sounds like his ego coudl rival Weis'. If true, and he's the arrogant ass I've been told, that might a good reason for ND to look a different direction. This is particularly true if, as reported, one of Weis' greatest failings has been his "politician" role with alums and admins.


December 2nd, 2008 at 2:56 AM ^

He was, without a permit, carrying an unregistered, loaded handgun in his waistband with the safety off. I know safety's can fail, but I'm going to assume he just had it off, because why give him the benefit of the doubt. Seriously, i'm surprised he didn't use blaxico purress as his alias.


December 1st, 2008 at 5:27 PM ^

The NY Post reported the Harris Smith/Applebee's bit today. Here's the excerpt:

"Getting special treatment at New York-Cornell Hospital, where he gave his name as Harris Smith, saying he'd been shot at an Applebee's restaurant. Nonetheless, hospital workers recognized him as Plaxico Burress, sources said, and the gunshot was not reported, as required by law."


December 1st, 2008 at 6:35 PM ^

but I wasn't suggesting that the name "Harris Smith" was in and of itself funny. What is funny (to me) is the fact that he would think that it was ok to go to a hospital with a gunshot wound, give a fake name and assume that no one would find out who he was and what really happened. Especially when hospitals are required by law to report gunshot wounds to the police (they did not, btw, and heads are probably going to roll there) and becasue he is one of the more recognizable sports figures in NYC (he was, apparently, recognized by the staff).


December 1st, 2008 at 6:07 PM ^

Such intelligence, such grace!

As I look to my right, I spot the '18' jersery of one Well Dressed Amani Toomer hanging on my bedroom wall. A true team player, and as class an act as you could find.


December 1st, 2008 at 6:09 PM ^

Do yourself a favor and stay away from Sportscenter. It's like back in the summer when we were on 24-hour Brett Farve watch. Except now Brett Farve shot himself in the leg. And his name is Plaxico Burress.

Robbie Moore

December 1st, 2008 at 7:22 PM ^

...is a dick. An old friend worked for him as a Grad Assistant at Grand Valley and said the man was an egotistical ass. Screamed at the low guys on the food chain, cursed and otherwise was a jerk. Bent all the rules, recruited punks. But he did know how to win football games.


December 1st, 2008 at 7:44 PM ^

I have no problem with earned arrogance. Show me a coach with a track record of a couple of National Championships, turning around one program and bringing another program to a higher level than ever before, and I'll show you a guy who has a right to be arrogant.
He must be violating recruiting rules to get all those 2 stars over at Cinncinati!
Oh, and what successful program doesn't recruit "thugs"? U of M does - everybody does. I don't have a problem with that.
So far you're saying Kelly has the same characteristics as Coach Rodriguez...
But I agree, keep him away from ND!


December 1st, 2008 at 8:02 PM ^

didn't I just read that Kelly was interviewing with Washington?

Maybe I'm wrong with that...but firstly why would you even interview with that piss poor program and don't you think Washington would offer him asap before notre dame could snatch him up?


December 1st, 2008 at 10:38 PM ^

Brian Kelly "turned around" Cincinnati? From an 8 win team (who played tOSU and Va. Tech in the OOC) to a 10 win team (with a much easier OOC)?

Cinci's been good since they joined the Big East a few years back. Brian Kelly has kept them good, benefitting from losing WVU as a power to compete with now that Coach Rod is here. Louisville's run ended, too.

Guy's a good coach, but I don't think he's the savior. He probably is ND's best option, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. I think he's got too many character issues for ND to hire him, and Coach Rod is better even if they do.


December 2nd, 2008 at 1:02 AM ^

Yeah, dont understand why I keep hearing other UM fans call for Weis' head!?!

Dont we WANT Notre Dame to suck?

Like it or not, it is still considered a "top-tier" gig that many great coaches would bolt to take.

kelly is one of them that I dont wat at ND. Meyer, especially.

matty blue

December 2nd, 2008 at 9:31 AM ^

look, i take as much glee from former sparties doing stupid things as anyone else...but just a reminder that there, for the grace of blah blah blah.

every single school in the country has or has had guys exactly like plax, guys about two a.c.t. points from being drug runners or in prison...need i remind anyone of shonte peoples, who took a shot at the cops while he was still a student? terrific player, total numbnuts.

seriously. laugh inwardly, not outwardly...because the odds that it eventually happens with one of our guys are pretty high.